NEW ASIA-PACIFIC NETWORK LAUNCHED TO TACKLE WATER PROBLEMS
Twelve organizations from across the Asia-Pacific region today launched a network to share solutions for improving water management to tackle the region’s many pressing water challenges.
The network, known as “KnowledgeHubs,” is an initiative of the Asia-Pacific Water Forum, which was established in 2006 with support from Japan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to promote leadership and boost investment in the water sector.
Some 650 million people in the Asia-Pacific region lack access to clean water and 2 billion are without adequate sanitation. Economic development, rural-to-urban migration, and greater industrial demand have increased competition for clean water. Meanwhile, climate change has made rainfall harder to predict, and floods and droughts are on the increase.
“The region is in urgent need of updated solutions—and more water professionals to implement them,” ADB Lead Water Resources Specialist Wouter Lincklaen Arriens said at the launch. “KnowledgeHubs will harness the region’s rich experience with water issues and give governments, water sector agencies, institutions and communities access to the best solutions available.”
Through KnowledgeHubs, decades of experience with the region’s most urgent water issues will be channeled into an open network of centers of excellence, each of which will take region-wide responsibility for knowledge networking on a priority water topic. The hubs will work together to coordinate services to clients and to leverage their respective experiences and the experiences of local, national, and international clients and partners.
“There’s no question that our region has the expertise to solve its water challenges. Where we must do better is in knowledge sharing and in developing the capacity to produce results at the local level. For that, we need knowledge networks that connect people to feasible solutions and help them adapt those solutions to their local conditions,” said Singapore’s Ambassador-at-Large Professor Tommy Koh, Chair of the Asia-Pacific Water Forum’s Governing Council.
KnowledgeHubs is supported by ADB, Singapore’s national water agency PUB, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education.
At the launch, Ravi Narayanan, Vice Chair of the forum’s Governing Council, introduced the 12 founding members of KnowledgeHubs. They are PUB WaterHub, Singapore; International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management, Japan; National Hydraulic Research Institute of Malaysia; Center for River Basin Organizations and Management, Indonesia; Korea Water Resources Corporation, the Republic of Korea; Center for Hydroinformatics in River Basins at the Yellow River Conservancy Commission, the People’s Republic of China; Institute of Water Policy at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Singapore; International Water Management Institute, Sri Lanka; Central Asia IWRM Resource Center, Uzbekistan; Pacific IWRM Resource Centre, the Fiji Islands; International Research and Training Center on Erosion and Sedimentation, the People’s Republic of China; and the International WaterCentre, Australia.
MAJOR STEP TOWARDS IMPROVING WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT FIVE COUNTRY WATER PARTNERSHIPS IN CENTRAL ASIA AND CAUCASUS ACCREDITED BY THE GLOBAL WATER PARTNERSHIP
Five countries in Central Asia and Caucasus Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan were today accredited by the Global Water Partnership Headquarters in Stockholm as official Country Water Partnerships. This means that the partners in each of these countries have organized themselves with agreed principles to serve as independent NGOs aiming at implementing integrated water resources management in their countries. GWP countries in the region also include Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
The Global Water Partnership (GWP) is a worldwide action network with a mission to support countries in the sustainable management of their water resources. Being a neutral platform, GWP bring stakeholders together from diverse sectors in constructive dialogues. Created in 1996, the network spans over 65 countries in 13 regions.
Martin Walshe, acting GWP Executive Secretary says that:
This has been an ongoing process since 2002, and the creation of these five country water partnerships represents a landmark in the move towards improving the water resources management in the region where water resources have been undervalued and polluted for decades.
In the last 15 years countries have started to move away from a command management towards participatory and sustainable management of their water resources where stakeholders from various sectors contribute. This typically entails improving governance and reforming the institutions responsible for water, building capacity and raising public awareness as well as increasing political commitment to addressing critical challenges.
Partnerships serve as a convening mechanism in these reform processes since they provide a platform for all stakeholders and address the water problems at both regional and national levels based on the principles of Integrated Water Resources Management.
More information and the mission of the new Country Water Partnerships is available at the Global Water Partnership website: www.gwpforum.org.
Five new Country Water Partnerships in GWP CACENA region:
Armenia Country Water Partnership (CWP)
With a mission to assist an introduction and implementation of Integrated Water Resources Management in Armenia, the Armenia CWP has gathered a diverse and representative base of 16 registered Partners. They represent sectors of water resources, environment, health, agriculture (irrigation) including government agencies and Parliament together with NGOs, academic and engineering organizations, and the private sector.
Georgia Country Water Partnership (CWP)
The CWP has gathered a diverse and representative base of 19 registered Partners. They represent sectors of environment, natural and water resources, including government agencies and Parliament, together with several NGOs such as women organizations, and academic and engineering organizations.
Kazakhstan Country Water Partnership (CWP)
The CWP has together with members of the GWP regional technical committee and later (in 2006) the regional GWP council members organized several IWRM activities in Kazakhstan, in particular during the years of the project of the National IWRM and Water Efficiency Plan, 2004-2007 (Norway and UNDP Kazakhstan)
Kyrgyzstan Country Water Partnership (CWP)
The main objective of the CWP is full coverage, transparency, objectivity and solidarity of organizations – all accredited members of GWP CACENA – that work for the implementation of IWRM. The CWP has gathered a diverse and representative base of 19 registered Partners. They represent sectors of water resources, agriculture (Irrigation, Water Users Associations), environment, economics, including government agencies, and NGOs.
Tajikistan Country Water Partnership (CWP)
On 29 February 2008, 36 representatives of stakeholders and GWP CACENA partners in Tajikistan came together and founded the Country Water Partnership of Tajikistan at a meeting in the Capital of Dushanbe. The formal foundation of CWP Tajikistan is a sign of recognition of GWP’s convening power to provide a platform for all stakeholders.